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 The mission of the "Your Mark on the World Center" is to solve the world's biggest problems before 2045 by identifying and championing the work of experts who have created credible plans and programs to end them once and for all.
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Devin D. Thorpe
Devin Thorpe

Expert Says Social Entrepreneurs Have Social Media Secret Weapon

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

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Jay Baer, New York Times bestselling author and founder of Convince and Convert, says that social enterprises and nonprofits have a secret weapon they can use on social media: authentic stories.

“Just tell the story,” Baer says to social entrepreneurs. “Ideally with video because video disproportionately performs in every social network. Just take a video of you working on the water project. Don’t try to sell anybody. Let the story sell for you.”

Expanding on this point, Baer says, optimally, social entrepreneurs will get their fans, supporters and customers to post the video of themselves working on the project rather than post a polished, edited video from the business or organization.

Baer points to Charity: Water as an example of an organization that uses video effectively. The organization funds water projects in the developing world. The projects are typically conducted in partnership with local communities. Donors receive detailed reports indicating the exact location of the project they funded, often accompanies with video.

Jay Baer

People are sometimes intimidated by the idea of producing video content. Baer says there is no need to worry. “What’s interesting in the video space right now is the difference between a video crew and what you can do with a $50 light and an iPhone is getting closer together.”

In fact, he says, “under polished” video actually performs better “because it is believed to be more authentic. It doesn’t need to be Hollywood grade.”

He cautions that it can’t be terrible, either. “There is still something to be said for a video that you can actually see and audio that you can hear.”

To help anyone learn to produce effective video, Baer recommends the book Vlog Like a Boss by Amy Schmidt.

Baer is just finishing his next book, Talk Triggers, that emphasizes the impact of the things our friends say in person as opposed to social media. “If I send you a tweet that recommends something, that has weight. But if you and I have an actual conversation and I recommend something, that has even greater weight.”

This is an important lesson for social entrepreneurs who need to do something that gets people to actually talk about your work. To make his point, Baer shared the story of Skip’s Kitchen, a burger restaurant in Sacramento that was started on a shoestring.

To create an experience that would get people talking, a talk trigger as Baer calls it now, founder Skip Wahl decided to give every customer a chance to pull the Joker from a deck of cards to win their meal for free. Every day, he gives away about three meals.

Every winner is ecstatic, sharing their experience on social media and with their friends. Baer says, their marketing budget has been exactly “zero dollars and zero cents.”

Chris Moody, head of content marketing for Cheetah Digital, got to know Baer via social media. They met in person when both were speaking at a conference. Moody says, Baer is “an amazing person first and an impressive businessman second.”

Moody offers some advice of his own, based on his observations about Baer. “Don’t cut corners. Jay is where he is because of hard work and treating people how they want to be treated. You’ll never see him spamming networks to get followers or engaging in shady practices to appear more influential. Don’t be that guy. Help others.”

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Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!

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